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At The Cutting Edge

Posted: 14 Aug 2018
Estimated Read Time: in about 17 minutes

Healthcare technology is leading the way for Radfield Home Care

At The Cutting Edge

Technology is a common part of everyday life for the majority of us. From following friends and celebrities on social media to navigating with mobile-based sat navs, the general population accesses some form of technology every day, most of the time without even giving it a second thought.

However, one age group that’s perhaps challenged by this the most is older people. Millennials entered the world alongside the Nokia 3310, then grew up as mobile phones and digital technology developed into today’s cutting edge smartphones.

Millennials’ parents weren’t far behind either, also largely adapting to the giant leaps the last half a century has seen in technology. Yet Millennials’ grandparents are all too often struggling to keep up and, as a result, are becoming more and more isolated because of this.

Trying to keep pace

The home care industry, one that’s closely aligned to older people, has traditionally suffered from the same fate too, struggling to keep pace with the rapidly changing technological landscape.

Some healthcare providers are still operating on largely paper-based systems, leaving business owners and managers with a huge admin burden and putting their clients and businesses at greater risk of human error - all while draining time from key operations and business growth.

With an ageing population and increasing need for at-home care services in the UK, the opportunity to implement technology into the sector is bigger and more needed that ever before. Thankfully, a number of national providers are driving for change.

Pushing for innovation

One particular franchise at the forefront of this change is Radfield Home Care. The brand launched its first office 10 years ago and has spent the last decade pushing for innovation in the sector and is now positioned at the cutting edge of healthcare technology.

Dr Hannah MacKechnie, Radfield Home Care’s franchisor, explains: “We launched Radfield Home Care at the height of the recession in 2008 and, as you can imagine, money was tight for everyone in every industry.

“Investment in technology in the home care sector was virtually nonexistent and innovation looked like double-sided printing. We recognised the need to invest in software solutions very early on; with the amount of paperwork home care assistants were having to complete during a client visit, it had the potential to negatively impact the quality of service we were offering.

“The mass of paperwork also meant our registered care managers spent a lot time undertaking admin duties and not focussing on client care, which is what we do best.”

As a result, Radfield Home Care became one of the first adopters of digital, cloud-based care management software, The PASSsystem. Now integral to the UK healthcare franchise’s daily operations, The PASSsystem allows a client’s care plan, notes and medication records to all be stored digitally, accessed remotely and updated in real time.

It’s accessed by both home care assistants in the field via a mobile app and office staff via either mobile or tablet apps or online software. Not only does this cut out paperwork, it also allows for real-time updates to be delivered directly to the registered care manager - keeping client safety at the centre of everything the organisation strives to achieve.

What’s more, the system also makes it easier for family to remain informed about their loved one’s care, as they can access the system from anywhere in the world.

To further reduce administration time and ensure clients’ needs are always met, Radfield Home Care also introduced Care Free, a home care specific rostering and invoicing system. Once again, this system allows all information to be accessed remotely via mobile and online applications.

Since these systems were introduced, Hannah has found them to be an essential part of the business for a number of reasons: “PASS and Care Free bring huge benefits in terms of client safety and time savings, but we also use them as tools to improve our business development and company culture.

“The systems allow us to track all leads coming into the business, so we can constantly monitor lead pipelines. This helps us identify key times for both client attraction and recruitment, so we grow sustainably.

“Real-time monitoring allows us to provide a more personable experience to each and every client - leading to 100 per cent of our clients rating our services as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ in 2017. Similarly, on the recruitment front our staff retention is extremely high for this sector at 89 per cent, which is in part due to the systems providing a more efficient and less stressful work environment.”

Digital marketing strategies

It’s not just operational technology that’s helping Radfield stand out from the crowd in the UK healthcare sector though. Investment in digital marketing strategies is helping recruit more high calibre staff and attract new clients.

Digital marketing manager, Phil MacKechnie, comes from a background heading up online marketing departments in some of the UK’s largest blue chip companies and has brought his years of experience to the sector.

He says: “When I first began working in the home care industry, I was amazed how far behind it was from a digital marketing perspective compared to most other industries in the UK. No CRM, no PPC and nothing being tracked or measured.

“However, this has given Radfield a huge advantage promoting the brand in digital spheres that have previously been relatively untouched.

“We are now undertaking a wide range of organic and paid activities using mediums that are much more sophisticated than traditional home care marketing activity, allowing us to successfully track what is working and what is not.”

Achieving results

Radfield’s online presence is centred around a localised, SEO developed website. Using targeted online advertising, as well as digital call tracking and monitoring tools that not only demonstrate results, but also ensure all franchise partners have coverage across a wide range of directories and listings (even including main car manufacturers’ sat nav systems), Radfield’s online presence is one of its strongest assets.

Franchise partners have access to all these services and a professional support team to help achieve results, something that Radfield Home Care Harrogate co-director, Jonathan Nutting, found pleasantly surprising.

He says: “If anything, spending time with the training team in my initial franchise training only further reinforced my original decision to invest in a Radfield franchise.

“The values of the business are very important to me, it’s what I eventually based my decision on, and it’s great to know there is such a resource of cutting edge knowledge and development in the business that Matthew and I have joined.”

Before any new service is rolled out to the network, it’s trialled with various franchises and company owned branches to generate sufficient data to evaluate its worth - the latest of which is an automated live chat facility.

Thanks to heavy investment in the early adoption of technology, Radfield Home Care has developed a strong business model that has led to a fantastic first two years franchising. Not only has it outgrown its own targets, but franchise partners have also experienced strong growth, winning multiple business awards and exceeding projections along the way.

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